Fleetwood Town’s U18s produced a superb display to beat Carlisle United 2-1 in the FA Youth Cup first round at Highbury on Thursday.
Sam O’Halleron’s eighth minute header and Shayden Morris’ stunning goal gave them victory, their efforts coming either side of Liam McCarron’s leveller for Carlisle.
Town went into the game unchanged from the side which beat Mansfield Town 3-2 in their Youth Alliance Cup meeting.
It meant Dylan Boyle, Carl Johnston and Barry Crowe-Baggely were on the bench, having returned from international duty with Northern Ireland U18s.
Town started positively and took the lead when O’Halleron headed home Kian Makepeace’s cross.
Taylor Charters saw a shot from distance go just wide of Town keeper Scott Pengelly’s upright before Ryan Rydel almost doubled Town’s lead, hitting the bar from the edge of the area.
James Hill’s last-ditch tackle thwarted Carlisle’s Keighran Kerr but they equalised on 40 minutes when McCarron found the bottom corner from Kerr’s flick.
Town were forced into a change at half-time as Boyle replaced the injured Jamie Cooke but it was Carlisle who started the second half well with McCarron seeing a shot deflected for a corner.
However, Town had an opportunity to retake the lead on 52 minutes as Jay Matete burst from midfield and saw his shot saved with O’Halleron unable to get on the end of the rebound.
Four minutes later though and they were back in front as Morris found space in the area and smashed an unstoppable strike into the top corner.
Rydel continued to be the driving force for Town, bursting forward on numerous occasions with one effort wide and another well blocked.
Carlisle were not going down without a fight, however, as Kerr drew a wonderful save from Pengelly.
At the other end, Hill was off target from Matete’s corner as Town, seeking to preserve their lead, brought on Johnston for O’Halleron with eight minutes left.
Carlisle introduced Kyle Soper and Belchoir Papa as they pressed forward, looking to force extra time.
They almost got their goal in the dying minutes when Josh Galloway cut inside to evade Boyle but his curling effort was just over.
Town took the ball into the corner to run the clock down, which was enough to see them over the line.
Fleetwood Town: Pengelly, Goldsborough, Rydel, Williams, Hill, Cooke (Boyle 45), Morris, Mashigo, O’Halleron (Johnston 82), Matete, Makepeace (Crowe-Baggley 66). Subs not used: Clayton, McCarragher.
Carlisle United: Ward, Barnes, Brockbank, Casson, Lightfoot (Papa 86), Wilson, McCarron (Soper 86), Branthwaite, Kerr, Charters, Birch (Galloway 36). Subs not used: Armstrong, McLachlan.